How to describe “Bestiary”? Well, we can start with the source of the commission, namely the Horizon2020 project CreaTures (or Creative Practices for Transformational Futures), an arts-research endeavour aimed at demonstrating “the power of existing – yet often hidden – creative practices to move the world towards eco-social sustainability”.

The call was to produce an artistic response to the findings of the project—and, being a writer, I naturally proposed some writing. I want to say I proposed a story, and I don’t think it would be entirely incorrect to do so… but it’s not a story like one you might encounter in a magazine or anthology. It’s sort of a set of stories nested within another story… or within a narrative, at least.

(We could spend an interesting afternoon discussing the distinction between those terms—and indeed I had the pleasure of doing exactly that with Ann Light and Lara Houston from the CreaTures team!)

So how about this: it’s a set of stories about people living as if they were citizens of a world which waits to be born, presented—or perhaps fabricated?—by a narrator who also lives (or tries to live) as if they too were a citizen of a world which waits to be born.

It’s about doing a thing because you believe it matters, regardless of how mad or odd or futile the world around you might deem it.

It’s a very strange story, by general standards and my own—but, like a lot of my work, it tries to enact what it simultaneously tries to say.